From what I’ve read about superpowers, they are supposed to be a blessing and not a curse. 

I’ve never been able to see any of the television shows or movies about the superheros. Everything electronic has been frozen on the same screen since the first stopped time when I was five. I remember the internet from when I was a kid, but that hasn’t worked in the last ten years.

I’ve had to look for things in books and libraries, basically teaching myself to read from my simple kindergarten basics. The first year I barely survived, foraging for food and walking everywhere on a child’s legs. 

I ate all the cereal and boxed food in our apartment within days. Then I moved on to every other apartment in our building with an unlocked door. Dozens of apartments and grocery stores in my area will look like an instantaneous hurricane hit their cereal and snack foods when I can unfreeze time again.

I gave up all hope of returning to my old life. My parents wouldn’t recognize me after all this time, and I couldn’t go back to kindergarten like nothing had changed. The world missed the last ten years of my life.

I imagined I would grow old and die in this frozen world. Maybe time would restart when I was gone, maybe the world would end as a time capsule to the mistake of an impulsive five-year-old.

About six months ago, I finally found the key to setting everything right. It was in a neighbor’s apartment on the same floor as my family. The door was unlocked and his supply of shelf-stable food lasted me a few months. The man who lived there was in the living room, sitting in an easy chair, just staring at the door as if he was waiting for someone when time froze. 

He looked kind, with the same sandy hair and blue eyes as me. His apartment was filled with interesting crystals, knives and mystical looking nick-knacks.

It was a fun place when I was a kid. I closed his eyes so it looked like he was happily dozing in the chair and I could pretend we were sitting together on a normal day. But I hadn’t gone back in years, not since learning to read. After not finding anything useful in the public library, I had scavenged private apartments again, looking for anything that could either be a clue or an escape from the unmoving world.

On one shelf, with various pendants and stones, was a brown leather-bound book I never looked through before. There was no title, but when I opened the front cover, there was an inscription with my name and a handwritten note.

Evan, when you need it, these instructions will show you the way to set time right.

Evan was a common enough name, but it seemed unusual that it would so specifically relate to my situation. It was a thick manual, and I had to bring back a dictionary from the library before I could work through all the complicated instructions.

Finally, after six months of careful preparation and decoding, I was ready to try the ceremony the book claimed will restart time.

I read the book enough times to have it memorized, but I carefully checked myself at every step. After my last casual bending of time, I’m not taking any chances again.

As I finished the last step in the book, the pressure and temperature immediately seemed to change. My ears popped and there is a low rumble through the building and under my feet. 

The sound of cereal falling tinkled from the other room as nuggets left haphazardly around the kitchen fell and skidded across the floor.

The man in the easy chair opened his eyes, unsurprised to see a random teenager pop into existence in his apartment. In the hallway, there was a growing chorus of noise as people find sudden messes in their apartments.

The man simply got up and walked to me, putting a hand on my shoulder. “I’m glad you finally found your way back to me, son.”

Image by Bruno /Germany from Pixabay

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